Monday, July 14, 2008

We don't need no stinkin' tent poles!

We laid the tent out flat in a perfect place and staked the corners down. My friend (who shall remain anonymous as I don't want to disparage her reputation in any way) and whose tent we were trying to put up said, "I don't see the support poles."

"Check the bag again."

"I did."

"The car?"

"I did."

"The ground between here and the car? Your other bags? Under the car?"

"I did, I did, and I did!"

She crawled into the tent and laid inside the puddle of canvas with her face pushed up against the mesh of one of the windows. She said, "This isn't so bad. We could just sleep in here like this."

The day before leaving I had taken the rope I usually carry out of my camp box in an effort to consolidate. I should have left out the bottle opener. I never need to open a bottle anymore....pretty much everything I drink now comes out of a pop top. I said, "There has to be something we can use to suspend the tent at least a little bit."

We dug through our supplies looking for twine or string. Finally, staring at my camp box, I realized that the two straps holding the lid on might be able to work as a single support if we could get the tent under a low enough branch. I told my friend (who I have now given the nickname of "Tent-Pole -Girl" which is a friendly mocking way to remind her of her mistake, after all, isn't that what friends are for?) "Hey Tent-Pole-Girl! We need to find a low hanging branch. Maybe we can use these to hold up the center of the tent." I held up the straps.

"Cool and don't call me Tent-Pole-Girl......Old Man."

"Sticks and stones, yadda, yadda, yadda! Find a tree....Tent-Pole Girl."

"Old Man Who Forgets Everything."


"Old Man Who Has a List of Every Picky-Uny Thing."

"Tent-Pole-Girl who might have remembered the tent poles if she had a list!"

"Old Man who.......oh wait. How about this branch?" She pointed at one that wasn't too far from the original campsite.

"Pretty good. But the ground is a little slanted."

"Don't have much choice."

"You're right. Lets give it a try."

We jury rigged something that allowed us to suspend the tent at least enough to get it off our faces. We couldn't figure out how to completely get the rain tarps on the tent. If a storm came, we'd have to relocate to the car. Other than that it was workable.

"You are a genius!"

"Yes, I know Tent-Pole-Girl. With age comes wisdom."

"No. Really. You amaze me."

"Enough Tent-Pole-Girl. You are embarrassing me."

"OK...but I just wanted you to know what I thought. And one more thing..."

"Yes, my admiring young friend who is in awe of everything Al."

"Call me Tent-Pole-Girl one more time and I will rub raw bacon on your sleeping bag and you can discuss your cutesy nick names with Smoky the Bear when he comes looking for a pork treat in the middle of the night!"

As it was, other than sliding down the slope to the bottom end of the tent and having to scootch back up once or twice every hour, the night was a peaceful one with no rain. We woke early the next morning and went for a hike in the Poudre Canyon.

Our new motto: "We don't need no stinkin' tent poles!"

[Image of fully assembled tent with poles is from the Coleman web site:]

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